The zoo, which suffered a fire in its 'monsoon forest' area last month, attracted more than £1.9 million people through its gates in 2018.
Babies born at the zoo, from the UK’s first ever sun bear cub to the birth of a critically endangered rhino calf, helped swell numbers, four per cent up on its previous best figures in 2016.
The good news comes weeks after firefighters and zoo staff worked to save orangutans, macaques, gibbons and larger birds from the blaze. However some fish, frogs, insects and small birds died.
Zoo conservationists have issued a public thank you to supporters, with income generated on the gate contributing to the wildlife charity’s vital work to protect endangered species worldwide.
Already the UK's most popular zoo, Chester say an unprecedented number of rare animal births in 2018. Conservationists at the zoo have successfully bred some of the world’s most highly threatened animals.
Jamie Christon, chief operating officer, said: “The whole zoo team would like to thank every single visitor that walked through our gates in 2018, helping us to prevent extinction around the world.
“We are fighting to ensure a future of an array of animals and plants – both here in Chester and through 80 vital conservation projects, spanning 30 different countries. These global initiatives use the latest scientific research, animal welfare knowledge and technical knowhow to ensure the survival of many of the world’s most at-risk species. Importantly, they also support local communities living side-by-side with the animals, ensuring they feel completely invested in protecting the amazing biodiversity around them. None of this would be possible without the fantastic support of our visitors and members.”
With more than 20,000 animals from 500 different species, the zoo is widely acclaimed as the best in the UK and is the country’s most visited attraction outside London and established as one of the top 10 zoos in the world.
“Later in 2019, we have a number of new state-of-the-art animal habitats opening, including a huge zone that will allow people to experience the habitats and wildlife of Madagascar, as well as an exciting line-up of events for visitors to enjoy throughout the year, Jamie said.